How do I create the actual items for my clients brand? For example - food service client I want to present to go boxes, bags, cups with their logo - Do I need to create the blank item if its an actual item that exists? I have adobe suite - so basically packaging items for clients.

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    Welcome. Can you please clarify what exactly you are asking here? Is the question about visual illustrations, physical mock ups, creating artwork for print or something else? – Westside Nov 9 '16 at 7:47

Appreciate @Chris's request for clarification. I think I know where you are going with this. From experience (food client):

  • First, I mock-up visually in Photoshop and take representative samples (unprinted) or a mood board of relevant images to ID the approach and application. There are many different cups, boxes, bags and there is no point printing samples just to be told by a client that they don't like the shape, colour, material. Normally this is a simple flat plan view as in here:


  • From the feedback I will work second visuals up to agreement on sample / design. Here is an example of a more finished visual with a 3D perspective. Note: In order to visualise the Whisky point of sale unit in advance, I had to have the specification from the manufacturer and in this case I asked for a sample which I made up and filled with random CDs, photographed and then re-worked with my art in Photoshop.


  • In the meantime, I would run the concept by the supplier to check it is practical for their product /substrate and ask for any particular art / repro requirements they have - if it's film for example, they will want vector art from illustrator and prefer to avoid drop shadows and vignettes (they can be done but its more work / expense).
  • Dependent on the client and scale of the project I would now print a sample on stock for final sign-off (if its a national / multi-national they will expect this) OR I would go to print on a short run.

Note: if you are already passed this point and are asking how do I create these packaging items for fulfillment, then you have a little more homework to do. Packaging is a skill in itself and there is little leeway for error. On a box for example, you will require a flat template file (normally an EPS) from the manufacturer which will give you the exact sizes, folds, bleed to provide in your art. Have a look at this one for VR goggles in card I recently received.

  • Clearly this takes some time and effort which is why packaging is not cheap. On food packaging, when using film I might have 3 or 4 meetings with the engineer and production unit to ensure the film is outputting correctly before it is shipped to the supermarket. On this scale, we produce the actual piece with product inside before it ships and test for presentation (how to stack it on a shelf, clarity from 6ft away etc), travel - are the seams strong enough, can we make it lighter, can we fit more in a transportation box by changing the shape, can we change the substrate for something with more longevity (like rigid PVC instead of card). It's not always this convoluted (it might simple be a logo on a card cup) but it pays to go in with your eyes open to the work required in some cases, so always talk to the manufacturer early to get a handle on what you are dealing with for production.
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